Pros: contains flouride to prevent cavities; good spearmint taste; helps prevent bad breath
Cons: hard to evaluate claims on the bottle
Everyone who knows me well knows that I'm afraid of three things; spiders, centipedes, and dentists. While it's easy enough to keep the dentists out of my house, I do still feel it necessary to seek them out twice a year to get my teeth cleaned and see if I've managed to get yet another cavity. I always feel lucky when I don't have a cavity, but once every two years or so, I'll have one and I'll need to face the twin horrors of Novocaine and drilling. Ugh! I've been brushing and flossing for a long time, of course, and this past spring I added using a fluoridated mouthwash (ACT Flouride) into my routine. ACT has been around for a long time in its original form, but when I was at Target in August I discovered they had come out with something new; ACT Restoring Anticavity Flouride Mouthwash in Cool Splash Spearmint. It was being clearanced, so it was cheap; I decided to give it a try.
This product comes in a clear plastic bottle with a white plastic screw on cap. The cap opens to reveal a bottle that is rather plain and open - unlike the way the regular ACT Flouride has a fancy dispensing mechanism at the top. With the ACT Restoring product, the mouthwash is meant to be dispensed directly into the cap; there's a line marked on the inside of the cap and you have to pour the mouthwash into it, just as if it were a very small measuring cup. While this is marginally less difficult than the mechanism on the regular ACT Flouride, I think I prefer this type of bottle as I know I’m not going to have to figure out how to clean it in order to recycle it!
Information is printed on the front in white and two shades of blue. The back label is white with information printed on it in black.
The mouthwash itself is a clear blue-green liquid. It has a spearmint-y taste with an edge of alcohol (doubtless because there is alcohol in the ingredients list). It also smells quite spearmint-y. I like the taste, but it does tingle when I use it; my husband - who is much pickier than I am about tastes - doesn't care for the taste of this stuff.
Because this product contains fluoride and alcohol, there is a WARNING label on the back of the bottle. It reads as follows: Keep out of reach of children. If more than used for rinsing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.
Use and Experience
The directions listed on the bottle read as follows:
adults and children 6 years of age and older:
-use once a day after brushing your teeth with a toothpaste
-pour 10 milliliters (10 mL mark on inside of cap); do not fill above 10 mL mark
-vigorously swish 10 milliliters of rinse between your teeth for 1 minute and then spit out
-do not swallow the rinse
-do not eat or drink for 30 minutes after rinsing
-instruct children under 12 years of age in good rinsing habits (to minimize swallowing)
-supervise children as necessary until capable of using without supervision
children under 6 years of age: consult a dentist or doctor
I do try to follow the directions as closely as possible, although I admit that sometimes my swishing isn't that vigorous and I often go on for more than 1 minute. This is because I'm usually reading something while I'm brushing my teeth… and sometimes I get kind of distracted by that. Not drinking or eating for 30 minutes after use is easy, as I generally use this right before I climb into bed. Overall I find this very easy and pleasant to use. Those who don't care for spearmint flavors won't like this at all, but if you can abide the taste I think it is an excellent fluoride rinse.
The real question that I have with this product is one that is probably impossible to answer: can it do the things that the label claims it can? According to the front label, this mouthwash "restores minerals to soft spots, strengthens enamel to prevent tooth decay, and kills bad breath germs." I can accept that - since it has sodium fluoride as an active ingredient - it is having an anticavity effect, but there's no way to know if my enamel is really stronger or if any soft spots I on my teeth are being remineralized. I can only use it consistently and hope that the fluoride is that effective.
As for the claim about killing germs that cause bad breath, I find that to be somewhat true. My mouth feels very fresh and clean after I use this, and that freshness lasts for quite a while. I don't find, however, that it lasts all night. My mouth is less gross-feeling in the morning after I use this than it would have been, but nothing is going to keep bacteria from growing there overnight and causing the dreaded morning breath. I do find this to be more effective than the regular ACT Flouride for this purpose, though; having looked at both bottles, I'm going to venture that it is because the ACT Restoring has alcohol in it while the other type does not. That gives this product a bit of an edge, although I really like both of them.
Cost and Where to Buy
This product was being clearanced when I bought it at Target, so I got my (18 ounce) bottle for $3.51 rather than the original Target price of $4.14. I have no idea if they were removing it from their shelves altogether or if they were just trying to move product, but it's possible that this stuff may be hard to find. It's available at www.drugstore.com for $5.99 a bottle with no sign that they are removing it (or even putting it on sale), so it is still readily available that way if nothing else.
Active ingredient: Sodium fluoride 0.05% (0.02% w/v fluoride ion). This serves and anticavity purpose.
Inactive ingredients: water, alcohol (11%), sorbitol, poloxamer 407, propylene glycol, sodium benzoate, flavor, sodium phosphate, polysorbate 20, sodium saccharin, cetylpyridinium chloride, disodium phosphate, calcium disodium EDTA, green 3, yellow 10 (245-166).
While I think Act Restoring Anticavity Flouride Mouthwash is a great product, it's hard to evaluate its lofty claims. I hope it is really strengthening the enamel in my teeth, but I have no way to measure it. I like it as well as or better than the regular ACT Flouride, though, and it does have fluoride as an active ingredient (which is an anticavity agent)… and I like the taste fine. 5 stars.